Rebels call for EU vote

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A call for a referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union was launched last night by the eight former whipless Tory MPs in a move which could forestall a challenge by Sir James Goldsmith's independent party.

The eight Tory MPs, including Sir Teddy Taylor and Teresa Gorman, last night demanded a broad referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union, and said a vote on the issue of the European single currency would be inadequate.

That could be enough to avoid the threat of a challenge in their constituencies at the next general election by the new Referendum Party led by Sir James. The international financier has warned Tory MPs that his party will stand against them at the next general election unless they are prepared to support its key policy for a referendum opening the way for Britain's possible withdrawal from the EU.

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